Is Your One-Page Website Killing Your SEO?

By Adam Hansen
Is Your One-Page Website Killing Your SEO?


Have you noticed the popularity of one-page websites these days? They seem to be popping up everywhere, and for good reason.

Done right, one-page websites can look super creative, clean and classy. These sites also help keep users engaged because they never have to click around a site and risk hitting a dead end that makes them bounce back to the search results.

But before you start remodeling all of your websites, there’s a little secret the one-page evangelists aren’t telling you...

One-page websites are killing your SEO!

Fashion Before Function

Yes, one-page websites looks awesome. If you’re not sure what we’re talking about, check out some of these beauties.

Slick, right?

But much like great-looking high heels that you can’t walk in, these sites are big on looks but low on substance and functionality.

Yes, they function as a website. They do a fine job of delivering information to your visitors… once they are there.

But unless you plan on using social media or paid traffic sources, you will end up very disappointed with these designs.

One-Page Websites and SEO

Search engines index web sites to figure out what they are all about and how that relates to their users' searches. Typically, this done on a page-by-page basis.

That is why Google used the Page Rank scale for so long. You could have one page on a website with a PR of 5 and another on the same site of 0. Likewise, each page’s content was looked at separately. 

Search engines don’t rank web pages for a large list of differing terms. Yes, your page might show up in the results for similar search phrases, but they will typically be very closely related.

For example, if you have a page about surfing wetsuits, you could rank for terms like:

  • Best surfing wetsuits
  • Cheap surfing wetsuits
  • Heated wetsuits for surfing

But it’s very unlikely that any search engines will rank that same page for terms like:

  • triathlon wetsuits
  • scuba diving wetsuits
  • wetsuit patches

The content needed to rank for those terms is just too different to rank for all of them. And that is why we build websites with multiple pages. Each page can focus on a topic and hopefully rank for searches related to that content.

Even with a one-page website that has a ton of content on it, broken up by sections, you won’t be able to convince a search engine algorithm that one page is about multiple things. 

One Site, Lots of Different Content

You might be thinking that your website is going to be about your company, which makes one product, so a one-page website would be perfect.

Pump the breaks, amigo.

Let’s say your company makes widgets. In fact, you make the best widgets the world has ever seen. Last year, you won the Widget of the Year Award at the annual Widget Makers Association conference.

But what makes your widgets so great? Why should people buy your widgets? Is it the technology behind them? The cost? The value? The innovations you have pioneered?

Every aspect that makes your product the one that customers should buy deserves its own page.

That way when people are searching for “latest innovations in widget technology,” one of your pages, which focuses on that aspect of your widget, will show up in the search engines.

And what about “Contact Us,” “About,” “Terms and Conditions” and other important pages on your website? Search engines expect to see this content listed out as other pages and failing to do so can ding your SEO efforts.

Our Take

We love the look of one-page websites; they are all kinds of awesome.

If organic traffic wasn’t a concern and we wanted to make a site showcasing our fancy design skills, then a one-page website would be the way to go. 

But search engine algorithms don’t give style points, and we really like organic traffic!

If you care about ranking your website well for a variety of terms related to your business, product or service, then stick with traditional multi-page websites.

There are plenty of great-looking templates that can still give you a creative and beautiful website with just a little work.
Ben Doyle 7 years ago
I think it very much depends on what you're creating a site about.

I have just built a dog grooming one page website which I think looks awesome.

But I have centred the whole site around just one single specific search term which is a local search term with very little SEO competition.

I have only just finished the site and started building backlinks to it so it isn't ranking yet but I think it will rank highly and when it does, I'll sell the site to a dog grooming company!

So if you're going after a single keyphrase, I'm confident it could work - but I'll report back.